Nissan has officially cranked out 1 million of the company's Frontier pickup trucks. By the time the first truck to bear the Frontier name rolled off of the line in 1997 as a 1998 model, Nissan had already established itself as a purveyor of fiendishly tough, inexpensive midsized pickups. According to PickupTrucks.com, the Japanese automaker first got into the American truck market back in 1959 when the Datsun 1000 landed on our shores. But it wasn't until the Datsun 520 showed up six years later that sales began to really take off.
Nissan became the first Japanese automaker to manufacture pickups in the U.S. in 1983 when the company began producing vehicles at its Smyrna, Tennessee plant. The move avoided a 25-percent tariff on foreign-built pickups, and since then, Nissan has built more than 2 million small trucks at the facility.
PickupTrucks.com reports that Nissan is working hard at the next-generation Frontier, but the model is facing poor sales at the moment. Last year, the automaker managed to sell just under 40,500 units – less than half of the 100,000 Hardbody pickups Nissan sold in 1987. Head over to PickupTrucks.com for an excellent rundown of the history of Nissan trucks in America.